Thousands defy govt. ban to rally in Baghdad
Supporters of an Iraqi cleric have defied a government warning, taking to the streets of Baghdad in thousands to stage a protest rally.
The rallies, called by cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, are being held to condemn the state of security as well as corruption in the country.
“Yes, yes to reform. No, no to sectarianism. No, no to corruption,” read placards held by the protesters on Friday.
The Iraqi government had banned the protest, with Iraq’s Joint Operations Command warning that security forces would regard demonstrators carrying arms as “terrorists.”
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had also called for a firm response to any “armed protest.”
The protest comes after Sadr refused to cancel the protest in Baghdad, which has witnessed a dramatic rise in terror attacks over the past weeks.